Municipality ‘lacks interest in recycling project’

2009-12-30 00:00

A VIABLE recycling project that was rolled out successfully in other cities has been bulldozed by the Msunduzi Municipality.

In a letter published in The Witness earlier this month, Lesley Oosterbroek — a member of the Kerbside Recycling Project committee — aired her disappointment over the municipality’s lack of interest in the project’s expansion.

The project, which involves the provision of free orange recycling bags aimed at encouraging residents to put recyclable paper inside for collection by Central Waste, was first tested out in Prestbury, Clarendon, Montrose and Wembley and was greeted favourably by residents.

“This project involves Mondi, who are at this stage driving the project and paying for the orange recycling bags,” Oosterbroek wrote in her letter. “It was the wish of Mondi for the project to be slowly taken over and driven by the Msunduzi Municipality as is being done in Durban and other cities across our country.

“Unfortunately this does not seem to be very likely in our city, with our municipal officials displaying a complete lack of interest in the project.”

During a subsequent meeting with The Witness, Oosterbroek said although officials such as ward councillors Glenn McArthur and David Ryder, along with community development process manager Mandla Zuma, were in support of the project, waste management manager Richard Rajah told them not to expect the municipality to come to the party.

“… all he did was tell us how the project is impossible, his staff are not interested in it and will not assist in any way and in fact are trying their best to stop the project from going forward,” she said.

Oosterbroek said there were problems in the past where refuse collectors were actually placing the bags in the garbage trucks as they were concerned that the project was jeopardising their jobs.

Mondi then explained that they would still have refuse to collect, albeit in smaller volumes, and the collectors stopped picking up the orange bags and now seem to be working with the project in most areas, she said.

Municipal spokeswoman Ntobeko Ngcobo rubbished the allegations, saying: “It is very disappointing to have to hear that … a resident feels that we have no interest in this project. We are fully behind the project because we have to promote recycling in our city.”

However, councillor McArthur came out in support of Oosterbroek, saying: “She’s right and I fully agree with her because I’ve been at these meetings.”

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